Thursday, October 6, 2016

Long-Term Impact of School Bullying May Be Worse Than You Thought

Long-Term Impact of School Bullying May Be Worse Than You Thought:

The Long-Term Impact of School Bullying May Be Worse Than You Think

impact of school bullying

While the school bullying problem in the United States has been at the forefront of national debate – thanks in large part to the first ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in 2011 – the long-lasting emotional and psychological scars carried by victims are only just being understood. The impact doesn’t go away when a student receives a high school diploma, says Dr. Dorothy Espelage, professor of psychology at the University of Florida and an expert on adolescent bullying. Espelage recently conducted a study of 480 students at four college campuses and found that being bullied in school was a stonger predictor of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder than other childhood traumas, including abuse and neglect. Espelage recently spoke with NEA Today about the long-term impact of bullying, what’s going right and wrong with school anti-bullying programs, and how a certain 2016 presidential nominee is throwing a wrench in the effort to create safer schools for all students.
Your recent work has focused on how being victimized in K-12 has affected college students. So much research has focused on younger students. Is there more attention now on the long-term impact of school bullying? 
Dorothy Espelage: Yes, because there’s been very little out there. We’ve assumed for the longest time that once these kids get their high school diploma, they’re able to adjust and move on from what they experienced in high school or middle school. But it doesn’t stop there. Developmentally, we need to recognize that the college years are still really adolescence, right?  We want to say that a college freshman is an “emerging adult,” but that’s kind of pushing it.
So we launched a study at four campuses, looking at college students across the board – not just freshman – and had them retrospectively report on multiple forms of victimization – bullying, but also childhood abuse and exposure to neighborhood violence. Even when you controlled for these other traumas, bullying emerged as the Long-Term Impact of School Bullying May Be Worse Than You Thought:

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